Leeks, to me, are one of the most underrated vegetables. They are full of valuable prebiotic fibre and oestrogen detoxing sulphur and, cooked well, they become velvety and unctuous, complementing both meat and fish. The recipe below works well with any robust fish or seafood, it’s delicious with chicken or lamb, and even makes a great pasta sauce. (Black bean spaghetti is my new guilty pleasure!)
I’ve been a Riverford customer for ever, or so it seems. My account tells me I’ve ordered from them 273 times (22.75 years of weekly orders) which means I placed my first order shortly after my diagnosis of breast cancer. They’ve been an important part of my drive to stay healthy: never more so than the way they’ve managed to keep all their customers supplied with fresh vegetables during the coronavirus lockdown. This weekend they added some Easter roasting joints to their website and I chose an organic duck. With only two of us for lunch on Easter Day, I ended up with much more meat than we could eat so I will be using it in various creative ways over the next few days. Tonight’s dinner was delicious!
We invited some dear friends to supper last night for an impromptu birthday celebration. Although I’m not the world’s most prolific or skilled baker I decided to make a cake. My inspiration was a delicious apple and almond cake I tasted at the delightful Southern Cross cafe in Edinburgh – it made such an impression on me that I vowed to recreate it. It’s supposed to have some flaked almonds on top to make it look pretty but the cupboard was bare yesterday so that didn’t happen. The resulting cake is both light and dense, moist and crumbly – easy to make and well worth the effort.
- 2 large cooking apples (such as Bramleys) or 3 tart eating apples
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest of half a lemon
- Olive oil to grease the cake tin, if using
- 5 organic, free range eggs
- 100g xylitol
- 300g ground almonds
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 50g flaked almonds
- Grease or line a loaf tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 160’C
- Peel, core and chop the apples roughly into a small saucepan with the lemon juice and zest. Cook gently for 10 minutes until it forms a rough puree.
- Allow the apple to cool for an hour or so.
- Combine the cool apple, eggs, xylitol and half the almonds and blitz in the large cup of your nutribullet or food processor and mix until thoroughly amalgamated.
- Add this batter to a mixing bowl and combine with the rest of the almonds.
- Scrape the cake mix into the cake tin, sprinkle the flaked almond on top, and bake for around 40 minutes until the top is slightly cracked and the cake has a little bit of bounce when pressed in the middle.
- Optional – add half the cake mix to the tin, arrange a layer of berries in the middle, add the rest of the cake mix on top. I used blueberries but raspberries would also work well.
- The cake works well warm or cold, served with Greek yoghurt.
- If using eating apples you can leave the puree lumpy to add more texture to the cake.
- Experiment with adding extra flavours like vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, or lavender into the mix at stage 5.
- Cover the top with pumpkin seeds instead of flaked almonds.
- Use pears instead of apples.
- Substitute ground pistachios or hazelnuts for some of the ground almonds.
The Riverford broad beans were too good to wait…
I’m always on the lookout for delicious and economical mid-week suppers and these hit the spot – they would also work well as part of a tapas-style feast. I served them last night with some fennel and orange slaw and some tahini yoghurt laced with chillies. They also taste good cold! Continue reading
Last night’s simple dessert accidentally turned into something bloggable that I was encouraged to share. I started off by halving some apricots to roast and serve with yoghurt, and the addition of a few extra ingredients along the way elevated it to something special. Continue reading
I first tasted this slaw during a trip to Bologna several years ago, and it quickly became one of my favourite side dishes. A perfect accompaniment to fish, chicken or red meat, it works just as well without the olives.